If it seems strange that so many mathematicians are musical, consider playing with the Whitney Music Box, a Web applet that elegantly combines the beauty of music with the intricacy of mathematics.
As with most mathematical concepts, the complexity of the Music Box arises from a fairly straightforward idea—multicolored dots rotate on a blank field, through which a line is drawn. When a dot passes the line, it emits a note. The dots also slowly rotate with respect to one another, creating momentary logarithmic spirals (the same ones in hurricanes and seashells) and stars out of the rotating scatter, which in turn produce an intricate and ever-changing song. Spiral music is not exactly catchy. It’s more rhythmic and moody, heightened by the uncommon fact that you can see exactly what’s causing the song you’re listening to. Images synchronized to music may be beautiful, but images creating it are mesmerizing.
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